module specification

DN4024 - Skills and Principles (2024/25)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2024/25
Module title Skills and Principles
Module level Certificate (04)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Art, Architecture and Design
Total study hours 300
228 hours Guided independent study
72 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 100%   Portfolio
Running in 2024/25

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year City Friday Afternoon

Module summary

This module enables emerging graphic designers, illustrators and animators to explore and gain fundamental working knowledge of the core skills and principles of their subject. You will take part in introductions to craft and digital workshops and learn the processes of making needed for visual communication.

Gaining an understanding of core skills and tools is achieved through the framework of design principles, enabling you to make important connections between the process of making and the process of designing.

You will learn how skills and tools can help you to implement decisions about colour, form, proportion, movement, repetition, hierarchy and negative space to create convincing visual outcomes. 

The module runs alongside the project module DN4004 ‘Message and Meaning’, and equips you with the necessary skills to successfully and confidently respond to creative project briefs. You will engage in workshops that introduce a basic working knowledge of software and digital tools, then to extend that learning by applying it to short briefs and challenges.

In this module, you will be introduced to a range of physical and analogue making tools and equipment, including inductions in facilities such as photography, printmaking, and animation equipment and workshops, as well as studio-based processes such as drawing, mark-making, book-binding, publication-making, model-making and sketchbook skills.

The skills learned in this module provide and essential foundation for independent discipline specific learning in levels 5 and 6.

The module will include:

• Use of essential digital tools and software appropriate to your course and discipline at a basic level;

• Working safely and effectively in a range of creative workshop settings and using physical and analogue making tools and techniques;

• Key knowledge of design principles and understanding how to apply that in responding to creative briefs and set tasks;

• Documenting and presenting your learning in a clear and considered way;

• Reflecting upon your learning and its effective application in practice;

• Terminology relating to key tools, processes and principles, and the ability to contextualise this knowledge in relation to contemporary discipline specific practice.

Prior learning requirements

Available for Study Abroad? NO


Through a curriculum of skills sessions and workshop inductions, which necessarily reflect technological developments in the subject, you will develop knowledge and experience of:

• Discipline specific and industry standard software and digital tools;

• Using practical, analogue tools effectively and work safely in specialist workshop environments;

• Key design principles and exploring them through creative tasks and briefs;

• The application of tools and skills in effective use of design principles to respond to project briefs and visual communication challenges;

• Documenting, reflecting upon and presenting learning carried out in a clear and professional way.

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Scheduled teaching provides the guidance and foundation to ensure that independent study is effective in addressing the module’s learning outcomes and assessment tasks.

In-class activity makes use of varied student-centred approaches such as active, flipped and blended learning, so that a range of learning strategies is deployed, and individual learning styles are accommodated. Information is provided through a range of means and sources to minimise and remove barriers to successful progress through the module. The course team seeks to embed the University’s Education for Social Justice Framework in fostering learning that is enjoyable, accessible, relevant and that takes account of the social and cultural context and capital of its students.

Activities foster peer-to-peer community building and support for learning. Reflective learning is promoted through interim formative feedback points that ask students to reflect on their progress, receive help where they identify the opportunity for improvement in learning strategies and outcomes and make recommendations to themselves for future development. Throughout the module, students build a body of work, including written reflections on progress and achievement.

The School’s programme of employability events and embedded work-based learning within the curriculum supports students’ personal and career development planning. Through these initiatives, students are increasingly able, as they progress from year to year, to understand the professional environment of their disciplines, the various opportunities available to them, and how to shape their learning according to their ambitions.

When not attending timetabled sessions, you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. This typically will involve reading books and journal articles, going to galleries and exhibitions, working on individual and group projects, undertaking preparing project work and presentations, and preparing for deadlines. Your independent learning is supported by a range of excellent facilities including online resources, the library and Weblearn and Linkedin Learning, the online learning platform.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, to the standard expected at Level 4, you will be able to:

Knowledge and Understanding

1. Demonstrate understanding of key digital and analogue skills and tools specific to the discipline;

Cognitive Intellectual Abilities

2. Demonstrate through practical work and reflection an understanding of how skills and tools can be used in the application of key design principles to solve problems and respond to project tasks;

Transferable Skills

3. Present knowledge and skills acquired in a clear and professional manner and reflect on the learning process;

Subject-Specific Practical Skills

4. Effectively select and apply the appropriate tools and processes in response to tasks set;

Professionalism and Values

5. Demonstrate engagement with all aspects of the module, professional commitment to study and attention to detail in documenting your learning.


http://Link to digital reading list

Creative Review
Eye Magazine
Printed Pages